Programme Partner: Vision Catalyst Fund
Globally, approximately 2.2 billion people suffer from near or distance vision impairment. Nearly half of these cases could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. Despite being perceived as niche, eye health significantly influences an individual's overall well-being, affecting education, employment, cognitive development in children, mental health, and functional capacity in older adults.
Eye health remains a neglected global concern with insufficient funding, despite its immense impact. Vision impairment causes an annual economic burden of around USD $411 billion due to productivity loss, far exceeding the estimated funding gap of USD $25 billion to address unmet eye health needs.
Vietnam alone has 14 million people with vision loss, including 3 million children with impaired vision. 70% of children in urban settings with refractive errors lack eyeglasses, and among those who have them, 60% have the wrong prescription. The eye health needs of these children could easily be met with the provision of a pair of prescribed spectacles; the Vietnamese government aims to improve eye health for children through the National School Health Guideline but faces challenges around fragmented local services, funding shortages, and a lack of capacity.
In response, our coalition of partners including the Vision Catalyst Fund, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Fred Hollows Foundation Vietnam are working together to pilot and scale a cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable Government-owned School Eye Health programme. This collaboration is structured using a social impact guarantee, an outcomes-based financing model that crowds in new funders, aligns incentives to outcomes, encourages innovation, and enhances cross-sector collaboration. A portion of the total outcomes funding will be underwritten by the guarantee, allowing outcomes funders to recover part of their investment if the project misses its impact targets.